Acquirers’ prior related knowledge and post-acquisition integration: Evidences from four Chinese firms

Qi Ai, Hui Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – This paper examines the role of acquirers’ prior related knowledge in the post-acquisition integration process. The purpose of this study is to identify what constitutes the key prior related knowledge that can contribute to the reverse knowledge transfer following Chinese firms’ outward M&As to Europe, and explain how prior related knowledge affects such transfer of knowledge.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors employ a multiple case study approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted from February 2012 to June 2013 with 24 managers.
Findings – We find that, in addition to knowledge about the target, prior international business experience, R&D capability, and industrial capabilities are key components of acquirers’ prior related knowledge that can contribute to the success of M&A integration and post-acquisition reverse knowledge transfer. Indeed, Chinese acquirers’ prior related knowledge can influence the reverse knowledge transfer from acquired firms to acquirers by directly improving acquirers’ absorptive capacity and building a harmonious organisational climate to facilitate such transfer. 
Originality/value – This paper contributes to the absorptive capacity and the cross-border M&A literature. It extends our current knowledge on the key components of an acquirer’s prior related knowledge in the outward M&A by Chinese firms. It also uncovers how post-acquisition reverse knowledge transfer is affected by acquirers’ prior related knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-662
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2017


  • M&A
  • Prior related knowledge
  • absorptive capacity
  • post-acquisition integration
  • reverse knowledge transfer
  • Chinese firms

Cite this